A New Level of Nanook
You know it's bad when they cancel school at International Falls, America's admittedly proud Capital of Cold.
"So why has it been so persistently cold?" the Star Tribune's Vineeta Sawkar asked me yesterday. Well, we may as well live in Canada. And prevailing winds aloft, the jet stream winds we love to babble about, have been unrelenting, howling from the Yukon for the last month. Most winters we see more variability - puffs of Pacific air interspersed with the nasty stuff. Not this winter.
Living in Minnesota we're all accustomed to cold fronts. But early next week we should experience a cold-front-on-steroids - a brittle bubble of pain - a black hole of molecular activity still reeking of Siberian madness. Cars will complain, schools will close; travel agents may see an uptick in new business. By my calculations this may be the coldest slap in a decade. In late January 2004 we saw metro lows as cold as -24F, one day with a high of -8F. This outbreak will be comparable, maybe a little worse.
Expect sub-zero temperatures Saturday evening into Wednesday morning, as cold as -20s in the 'burbs, -30s for St. Cloud and Brainerd.
20s and even a few 30s return for the latter half of January.
Cue the Hallelujah Chorus.
* file photo above: AP
* The storm that has dumped as much as 16" of snow on the northern/western suburbs of Chicago is pushing east. Conditions will rapidly deteriorate this afternoon from Washington D.C. and Baltimore to Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
* Over 3,700 delays and nearly 1,500 cancellations at U.S. airports so far today. Tomorrow will be worse. Details below.
* The brunt of the snow (and wind) comes tonight and Friday morning. Skies will rapidly clear Friday afternoon as the storm accelerates out to sea, but I expect widespread delays and cancellations tomorrow. Very cold air in the wake of this storm will make it difficult for road crews to keep even interstates wet and slushy from late tonight into the morning hours Friday. I expect rapid improvement on highways and at major airports Saturday.
* Plowable snowfall amounts are still likely from Philadelphia and New York City to Albany and Rochester, New York. This may be a crippling snowfall from Long Island to Cape Cod and southern suburbs of Boston, where 6-12" of powdery snow will be whipped into 2-3 foot drifts late tonight and Friday. This still has the potential to be a rare (crippling) snow and wind event for coastal New England and coastal Mid Atlantic communities.
* What may be the coldest air since late January, 2004, is on the way for the northern third of the USA by Monday of next week.
Summary: Today's briefing has something for everyone, everything except warmth and tranquility. The same storm that is slowing air and land travel to a crawl over the Midwest and Ohio Valley pushes east tonight, with blizzard conditions possible, especially within 50 miles of the Atlantic Ocean, late tonight into Friday morning. Travel will continue to worsen as the day goes on today - I suspect many businesses and schools will shut down Friday, with gradual improvement on Saturday. Believe it or not the atmosphere will be warm enough aloft for a period of rain late Sunday and Monday over the Northeast before brutally cold air arrives early next week.
Pass the ibuprofen. Good luck, and stay safe out there.
Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster
Image credit above: "Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm seen during the satellite era, was spotted by the Japan Meteorological Agency's MTSAT on Nov. 7, 2013, as it headed toward landfall over the Philippines." Credit: Japan Meteorological Agency/NOAA.
Climate Central Infographic featured above is here.
2013 In Review: Extreme Weather - In Pictures. Here's an excerpt of a 20 slide recap of some of the more unusual and extreme weather events of 2013, courtesy of The Guardian: "2013 was the seventh warmest year on record and saw one of the strongest cyclones, some of the longest heatwaves and the most topsy-turvy weather experienced in decades."
Image credit above: " ." Photograph: Japan Meteorological Agency and EUMETSAT/Barcroft Media.
Image credit above: "Artist concept of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory satellite." (NASA/Courtesy).
Tips For A Successful Digital Detox. Step away from the smartphone please. If you're finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with e-mails, FB posts, tweets, etc - here are a few suggestions from Shape Magazine: "Chances are your smartphone is within arm’s reach right now, if you’re not already using it to read this. We’re spending more time than ever on our digital devices—anywhere from one to two hours daily, depending on which study you consult—and with the flood of incoming texts, emails, calls, and push notifications, it’s rare if our screens stay dark for more than a moment. While there’s no doubt technology has made our lives easier in many ways (remember roadmaps?), research suggests that our addiction to it is real. “Every new notification or text triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that drives us to seek rewards, so you keep coming back for more," explains Levi Felix, co-founder of Digital Detox and Camp Grounded, which run tech-free weekend getaways for adults..."
* photo credit above: Imara Hixon.
Photo credit above: Andrew Ferguson.
Photo credit above: "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there is "high confidence that ice shelves around the Antarctic peninsula continue a long-term trend of retreat and partial collapse". Photograph: AAP.
Photo credit: "Understanding cloud formation is key to predicting climate change." Photograph: CBW/Alamy.
Photo credit above: "New research suggests temperatures will rise between 3-5 degrees for a doubling of C02." Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones.